Over the past several weeks the Church’s public prayer has guided us ever closer to the events of the passion, death, and resurrection of our blessed Lord. On Septuagesima Sunday we began (as it were) our gradual breathing-in; preparing ourselves for the holy Lenten fast which, beginning on Ash Wednesday, has acted as a discipline both in the external stripping-back and simplification of the liturgical rites, and in our personal piety, through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Last Sunday, Lætare Sunday, we took a moment to lift ourselves from this rigour and prepare for the final push. Today, with the beginning of Passiontide, we enter the final moments before the events of Holy Week and the sacred triduum itself. Even more than the rest of Lent, Passiontide is marked by a character of restraint in the liturgy: the prayers at the foot of the altar are abbreviated, the Gloria Patri is not said, and the altar cross and images of the church are veiled, in order to help to us focus on the reality of the mystery which, for the rest of the year, those sacred objects assist us to understand.